Keep it simple stupid.    It may not be polite advice but it still may be good advice.  I have been as guilty as anyone of over thinking just about everything in my life.   I have already admitted in my blog postings “The Burden Of Being A Perfectionist” and “Patience Is A Virtue”, that even though I was impatient and would not rest until I was able to find a solution to the problems in my life, career, or business it still was never a quick or easy process.

One reason for this may be that as an attorney you are trained to look at complex issues in a very deliberate and thoughtful manner since the law rarely has direct black and white answers.   In the law, the rule is usually stated in one or two paragraphs and then the exceptions to that rule go on for several pages.   The phrase that the devil is in the details has never been truer than when dealing with legal issues.

This is a pattern that existed from very early in my life and practicing law just refined my natural inclination to solve problems by analyzing all of the issues and carefully weighing all of my options.   This may seem inconsistent with my belief that it is important to be decisive and not second guess your decisions; however, being deliberate in reaching a decision and then being decisive and steadfast in implementing that decision are not incompatible.

Over the years, I have found that in the operation of a small business you have more flexibility in the way you solve problems than you have in the practice of law.   When practicing law your solution to any problem needs to conform to the constraints imposed by statutes and case law specific to that problem.  In business the issues are not that narrowly defined and, as long as you are not breaking the law, you have wide latitude in how you run your business.  

As I made the transition from practicing law to operating USFSB, I eventually changed my outlook and reached a point where I felt comfortable simplifying the problems and making quick and easy decisions.  USFSB has, in many ways, made my life less complicated and helped me realize that keeping things simple is good for me and my business.

On Wednesday, Joe makes some random observations about religion in “Some Musings About Religion”.



Annemarie and I recently were on a two week cruise to Hawaii out of Los Angeles.   We had a suite at the very back of the ship with a large balcony.   While I sat on our balcony looking at the ship’s wake as we passed through the ocean, I was struck by the fact that I was watching where we had been rather than where we were going.  I was also struck by the realization that this was a perfect analogy for the fact that, in our lives, hindsight has a way of validating or refuting our vision of the future.

To pass the time, I read President Bush’s book, “Decision Points”.   The book is essentially about the decisions he made as stated in the reflective light of hindsight.  Even though the decisions and choices he was called on to make may seem monumental when compared to those we must make in our daily lives, the process is the same.   We can only make our decisions based on what we believe are the right choices for our future and we can only know if we made the right decisions after they have become history.

That is the dilemma we all face and is the common theme of all human drama.   We often agonize over the choices and decisions we must make in our lives.   Is this the right career?  Is this the right person for me?  Should I stay or should I leave?   Do I proceed with caution or do I act boldly?   Yet, with each decision we know that we are taking a leap of faith.   We will never know if we made the right choice until after it is made.  Fortunately, it is not always too late when we realize we have made the wrong choice and we get a second chance.

We tend to admire those people who have the foresight to seemingly always make the right decisions; however, in reality they are only guessing, perhaps, they are making intelligent and informed guesses but guesses none the less.   Even though we down play the value of hindsight it is, in fact, the only time we have clarity.

Since we can only judge our choices by hindsight, it is a little like sitting at the back of the ship.   We see where we have been much more clearly then we can ever see where we are going.    It is only as we pass through our lives that we are able to see the consequences of our decisions.   The wake we leave behind is the legacy of our life’s journey.